Spelling - myths and, well, more myths

Firstname Lastname: to all the poeple out there that hate me do not hate me because i am beaudiful and you are ugly.
12 hours ago

Nameone Nametwo: cathy beauitful don't have a d in it chicky and its not that people hate you they dislike you for what you do but thats not me your family in my eyes i like you as family kk take care
12 hours ago
Facebook exchange

I love you for who you are, she says, except youse got to spel rite!!!!

We were doing some writing in the Storytent this week. One girl asked another, "How do you spell 'dad'?"

Her friend answered, "d - a - d." There was a moment's pause, and then the friend stood up. "Com'on. Let's go."

"Wait!" the girl cried in exasperation. "I've got to finish spelling!"

This was the first time in a while I've heard spelling used synonymously with writing. It's a usage that always tweaks my interest. I think I've only ever heard it among self-consciously poor spellers, which makes we wonder if there is a point of confidence or ability where we separate spelling and writing.

I'm also, constantly, intrigued by people making spelling errors even while publicly correcting one another's spelling, as in the Facebook exchange cited above.

BTW, I'd translate the reply into standard English thus:

Cathy, 'beautiful' doesn't have a 'd' in it, Chicky. And it's not that people hate you. They dislike you for what you do. But that's not me. You're family in my eyes. I like you as family. Ok[?] Take care.
You can see the, um, eclectic usage in the original. So why the concern about a stray 'd' in 'beautiful'?

Who knows.

Except, maybe... maybe... spelling has a special importance to people who self-consciously struggle with it? But then, that doesn't explain me and my grade-school teachers. They seemed able to spell everything, while I could spell almost nothing. Yet, it was they, not I, who were always getting upset by stray vowels.

Why do we seem to care about spelling (when, obviously, we rarely care at all)? Why do we care about spelling even as we spell carelessly? Sure, we're judged by it. But, then, why do we judge based on spelling - especially given how bad so many of us are at it. Look at the aggressiveness in this misspelt sign:

I mean, what can you say about that? What can you say? Why do we make such a big deal out of something we ourselves are so likely to mess up on?

Beats me.

For another take, visit The Spelling Blog.


Johanna said...

Hi Wendell,

You might be surprised to know that I agree with you! The people who get most shirty about spelling are often those who are not so hot at it themselves. (But then don't we usually dislike negative characteristics in other people that we only just manage to control in ourselves?)

There are certain situations in which people really NEED to be able to spell well and it's so frustrating for them to be held back because they can't spell. That's why I do what I do.

Thanks for the link. By the way, if you ever fancy doing a guest post on The Spelling Blog, let me know.


Wendell said...

Thks. Johanna. And, you're welcome.